It’s very quiet here at MPOW.  The semester has ended and the students have fled for the summer.

I’m finding that, at least for the moment, I’m enjoying the quiet.  I will no doubt be craving people interaction in a week or so.  But in the meantime, the quiet is delicious.

I’ve been reading articles lately that are mourning the dearth of quiet in our lives. The relief that comes with a quiet space is noticeably missing of late, and the proliferation of hand-held technology is making the lack of quiet almost constant.

Perhaps one of the services that a library can offer is that peace and quiet. Libraries traditionally held that distinction, but of late we’ve been wringing our hands at the old stereotype of a shushing librarian and have been encouraging people to talk, game, and generally be loud at our libraries.

A library should be an oasis of calm in a frenzied world. We need a bit of quiet in order to think, to gather ourselves and prepare for the next onslaught.

Maybe that shushing librarian thing needs to be revived, for sanity’s sake.



Filed under Libraries and Librarianship

6 responses to “Quiet

  1. smark

    Hand-held technology only eliminates quiet if you refuse to turn it off. I think many people feel like they HAVE to be connected 24-7 when, for most of us, we really, really don’t. Personally, I have no problems leaving my cell phone behind, and it’s rare that I spend much time on the computer on weekends.

    Our wonderful, wonderful local library has a quiet room — no electronics allowed. Comfy chairs, nice view of downtown. It’s great. They’ve done a very good job of segregating noisy space and quiet space.

  2. Ninotchka

    Smark, so laptops/netbooks are not allowed in the quiet room?

  3. Smark

    Nope. No laptops or netbooks. No clattering of keys. Total electronic moratorium.

    That’s just in one room, though. The entire 3rd floor is pretty quiet. It’s the nonfiction floor. So there’s ample quiet space for those with netbooks or laptops to work.

    • Ninotchka

      Wow! Nice!

      How is it enforced? Signage?

      • Smark

        Sign on the door (closed rooom). Plus, a bit of peer pressure from those who use it, I suspect. I don’t know if library staff ever have to step in, but every time I recall being in it, it has been respected. I think part of the reason it IS respected is that the library makes so much other space available where electronics are fine & dandy by them. It’s an amazing library.

  4. DBF

    Please, oh please, oh please, start shushing again. Libraries are meant for silent contemplation. It will be an enormous service.

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